Brain Fag Syndrome

Peter O. Ebigbo, Chimezie Lekwas Elekwachi and Felix Chukwunenyem Nweze

in Unusual and Rare Psychological Disorders

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print November 2016 | ISBN: 9780190245863
Published online March 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190245887 | DOI:
Brain Fag Syndrome

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Brain fag syndrome is a form of psychological distress first identified in Nigerian students in the 1960s but reported more generally in the African diaspora. It consists of a variety of cognitive disturbances, such as concentration difficulties and poor retention of study material, as well as sensory disturbances, such as heat sensations or dimming of vision), all of which occur during periods of intense intellectual activity. The symptoms occur continuously, which may make patients isolate themselves from intellectual activities altogether. Various etiological hypotheses ranging from the intrapsychic to the societal are discussed, including the suggestion that brain fag may not just be a disease entity of its own, but could be a kind of defense mechanism that prevents individuals from full mental breakdown during times of unbearable stress.

Keywords: Brain fag syndrome; Nigerian manifestations of distress; culture-bound syndrome; cultural concepts of distress; ode ori; assessment; treatment; case study

Chapter.  5419 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Psychology ; Clinical Adult Psychology

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